Weekly Organic Haat

December 28, 2013 0 Comments

Date: Friday, 27 December, 8 am to 7 pm; and Saturday, 28 December,

Time: 8 am to 3 pm

Venue: Earthcare, 10 Middleton St, near Maidan Metro Station

Dear All,

Ecological self-help group, Shyamoli, and Earthcare Books warmly invite you to our weeklyOrganic Haat,  a collaborative organic farmers’ market celebrating nature and community. The next 2 Organic Haats will be held on Friday and Saturday, 27-28 December, 2013 and 3-4 January, 2014.

‘Shyamoli’, the main organizer, is an alliance of concerned individuals that believes in watching the ecological footprint of our lifestyles, and adopting collective self-help for positive change.

The need for a shared ecological community space like the Organic Haat has long been felt in Kolkata. Alongside organic farm produce, the weekly Organic Haat offers a pop-up organic café with music, including live music; also occasional workshops/film screenings/discussions on varied subjects like terrace food gardening, organic farming, composting, renewable energy, rainwater harvesting and conservation, and other ways to reduce our ecological footprint on earth.

Wholesome food or poisoned food?

The Food Safety and Standards Authority, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, recently reported that the toxic pesticides and chemicals contained in the foods we commonly buy is several hundred times in excess of permissible limits, exposing consumers to unacceptable risk of myriad diseases.

According to health experts, “Pesticides are neurotoxins and can affect vital organs like the kidney and liver as well as the endocrine system. If consumed for a prolonged period, they can prove fatal.” Such pesticides are even more dangerous for pregnant women, the babies they bear, and young children; also the ill and diseased.

Mining the earth through chemical farming or healing her by organic ecological farming?

The World Agriculture Report of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) – prepared after 4 years of intensive study by over 400 agricultural scientists and experts from 60 countries, including India, also representatives of FAO, WHO, UNEP and the World Bank – concluded that the prevalent chemical and input intensive method of mono-cultural farming is plainly unsustainable and plagued with serious problems. “Business as usual is no longer an option,” it bluntly states, advocating small-scale, bio-diverse agro-ecological farming for long-term sustainability and health.

After just a few decades of using agro-chemicals, soil degradation, crop diseases, pestilence, water scarcity, mounting farm inputs and costs are all increasingly driving farmers towards organic ecological farming. But since there is initial decline in production in the first few years of conversion until the soil regains her fertility, organic farmers need and deserve a better price and a dependable market for their organic produce. City consumers too need outlets where they can source safe, wholesome organic food – at an affordable rate.

A key principle we have thus adopted for the Organic Haat is: fair earnings for organic farmers and affordable prices for common consumers. We mainly work with individual farmers and organizations of small and medium farmers within a 150 km radius; and we believe that organic consumer-farmer interaction should be based on personal relationship and trust, rather than anonymity mediated by an impersonal and expensive institutional certification of uncertain merit.

We aim to make the Organic Haat a plastic-free event, offering only natural, biodegradable packaging, and inviting buyers to bring their own bags.

The Organic Haat is essentially a voluntary initiative for building community solidarity in the collective interest of farmers and consumers; and for the protection of nature. Learning, sharing and celebration are integral to it. The movement promises to continue. Our present endeavor is to broaden our network of kindred souls and figure out how best we can work in a harmonious and complementary manner. You support and participation would be most welcome.

If you are in agreement with our broad objectives and principles and would like to collaborate, please fill out the membership form for Shyamoli eco self-help group.

If you would like to be only a regular purchaser of organic food, please fill out the organic food consumer form.

We look forward to see you, and wish you a glorious and joyful 2014!

Warmly,

Shyamoli (www.shyamoli.org) and Earthcare Books (www.earthcarebooks.com)